Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

Everything I Was by Corrine Demas

Published: April 28th, 2011
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Rating: YA/MG 12+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

"My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mother's spending—quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they're forced to move in with Irene's grandfather in the big family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of her life takes a surprising turn when she meets a most remarkable family.

**This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). The final text/cover may be different!**

"Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene 
I'll see you in my dreams "
"Goodnight Irene" by Steve Earle

After this song was mentioned in the book, I got it stuck in my head throughout the rest of the story. Why? Well, I've a friend in my geo class called Irene (yes, like the character in this book) and then my geo teacher played this song one day. The country-ness of the song and the lyrics really got stuck in  my head... especially after my teacher sang it...quite interestingly.

Everything I Was wasn't what I was expecting. The cover looks creepy (really eye-catching though!), so I thought it would be about some mystery, something paranormal or something terrifying.

It was a sweet, slow book which took fiction to as realistic real life can get. It focuses on a lot of the problems today: Downsizing, Economy and such. But it's not about the serious stuff, but more on how a girl from the city moves down to the country with her grandpa and how life goes on there. Nothing really big happens, it's quite a cute coming-of-age story. I didn't know how old Irene was (judging from the cover, I thought she was around 15/16) and it turned out that she was 13! I really love this line. It's from the book and includes the title, "I let the task I was doing be everything I was" (Irene). I really love that line. It shows determination, trying to fit in, adapting to life in the country. It basically sums the entire book up! I couldn't have seen a better suited title for this books.

The characters were pretty good! Irene was of course, the amazing one– she never really complains when she moves with her grandpa, she tries to adapt, and get used to it. She wants the best for everyone and always thinks of others before her self. She's so...genial. That's the word that so describes her :). 
I loved Jim as well, although their small "crush" thing isn't that big in the book (which can be a relief sometimes!) but I found him really outgoing, really friendly and looks out for all his brothers and sisters (and he's the one who mentions "Goodnigh Irene"!). Meg is one of his sisters and becomes Irene's friend. She's so nice! I wish I could have an amazingly sweet friend like her (not that I don't) but there's something about Meg that's an enviable quality, how she's soft and shy and not at all self absorbed. She likes reading too! YAY!

Everything I Was is a book which can relax and make you smile with the simplicity of the story and the great characters. As you read on, you're instantly grabbed by the country-air and the sweet smell of grass and rain. I could totally imagine myself there, along the whole time with Irene. Corinne Demas' writing is descriptive and so alive, it's flawlessly enrapturing and will hold you until the end.

If you like this, try...
  • In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite (Review ❘ Amazon Goodreads)
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Amazon Goodreads)

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